What is Percent for Art?
Our Percent for Art team comprises of four arts officers who are based in our Community Investment Team and work across all areas of Bolton. Our arts officers work with residents, community groups, partners and other community stakeholders to develop socially engaged arts projects that help to improve our communities and benefit customers.
We commission appropriate artists or arts organisations, to work with the local community, and we manage the project from start to finish.
The Percent for Art service actively encourages individuals and community groups to get involved in schemes that can offer creative solutions to neighbourhood issues.
Ideas for arts projects can come from our neighbourhood teams and they will focus on specific neighbourhood priorities or be developed through conversations with community groups, partner organisations or other community stakeholders. Sometimes local arts projects are developed through wider Greater Manchester, regional or national networks or funding.
Our service also offers advice and guidance to our partners with regard to developing arts projects involving other social housing customers across Bolton. We have also been commissioned by partners to project manage a number of community arts and public / environmental art projects in Bolton.
Projects can be in any medium including visual arts, performance, music, crafts, digital art and film. They can take the form of arts based consultation, skills and confidence building projects, arts in health & wellbeing work, festivals and celebratory arts, as well as streetscaping and environmental arts projects designed to enhance the physical environment.
2010 Knit and natter
A creative project was set up in October 2010 to engage women in Breightmet, particularly older women and younger women with children. Two groups were formed in different parts of the neighbourhood. Artist Jen Gilmour has co-ordinated both groups since the project began and continues to develop and support collaborative work, using knitting as a craft based activity to enhance group cohesion, identity and self-esteem.
The ‘groups were commissioned to produce crafts and textile work for the ‘If these walls could talk…’ installation in March 2013, and in December 2013 ran their own Christmas Craft Fair. Other activities include producing hats for heroes and for babies in the neo-natal unit of the Royal Bolton Hospital. They have taken part in joint workshops with other groups and demonstrations to promote knitting to other Bolton at Home neighbourhoods. They also took over an empty shop unit at Bolton’s Marketplace shopping centre as part of Bolton’s Festival of Arts 2012.
The Leverhulme group has extended membership with little support and are now entirely self-sufficient, while members of the Top o’th’ Brow group are focusing on developing creative enterprise skills.
“I think the knitting has brought a lot of people together. Everyone mix so well together: young and old.” Kate Hourihan